Monday, 29 April 2019

Firm

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.                             1 Cor. 15.58


“Therefore” in this verse points to the victory we have in Jesus Christ. The battle has already been fought and won. The work of believers now is to live in that victory.

As brothers and sisters in the faith, we are to stand firm. Is this difficult? Sometimes, yes!

Society has become most permissive and tolerant. The Christian stance is often mocked as narrow minded and totally out of touch. Yet we know that God does not change. Neither do His requirements of us. He is pure, a righteous God, and the way of the believer is to seek after righteousness. Nothing must move us from a position where we stand in the full lordship of Jesus Christ, willingly declaring this when called to. The victory has been won. The blessing is there for all who will receive it.



Lord God,
I rejoice in the victory that is mine in Christ. My desire is to stand firm. I yearn to touch others with the saving grace of Jesus.
Dear Lord, there is so much I want, and I feel today to come straight out and ask for it.
Physically, Lord, I ask for the fullness of health. I ask You to remove any tiredness and replace it with energy and vitality in You. 
Spiritually, I pray for breakthrough. I feel as if I’m on the verge of something new. I pray that I am not mistaken. I release myself, Lord, to whatever You wish of me.
I confess my sins, my imperfection and my unworthiness to be used by You. I bring these faults to You. I release them and ask Your forgiveness. Please set me free, and use me in the power that can only come from You.
Receive my love. Deepen my love. Draw me closer. Walk with me and talk with me. Let us journey together through each and every part of every day. I love You, and offer these heartfelt prayers to You in the name of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.                  Amen.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Indispensable

On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.                                                     1 Cor. 12.22


Paul is talking about the body of Christ, and comparing it with the human body. He mentions weaker parts, less honourable parts, and unpresentable parts of the human body. He proceeds to make the point that everypart has a specific function; every part is vital; and without any part the rest of the body would not perform as it should.

So it is with the Body of Christ. All the parts of the Church are interdependent. Each is mutually dependent with others. Functions may be distinctive, but every function is important. It is sometimes a folly of the Church to see some roles as more important than others. Paul is dispelling that notion. Those who appear to have less important functions in the Body of Christ are actually indispensable. Those who seem to have quite “ordinary” gifts are to be honoured and supported, for they are vital to the full and proper functioning of the body. Those whose function may appear to be very obscure are to be given special respect and encouragement.

It is interesting that Paul set these things down so very long ago, and yet the Church of today appears to be as obsessed with position and power as it ever was. God help us!



Lord, 
I thank You for every part of Your Body. I raise each individual to You and ask that You place every one in that position where You want them to be and to function. Bless them and grow them. I declare no person is insignificant in Your Body. Hallelujah! Precious Lord, bring about new recognition of all who claim You as Saviour and Lord.
I pray that You will dismantle all power plays within the Body. Let all internal struggles disappear. Raise instead a unity and common purpose that will see Your Church as a force of reckoning in the hopelessness of the world today. The world needs Jesus. He should be found in the Church. Dear Lord, let this be true. And let Your Church not wait for people to come looking but let us intercede with You for their salvation.
Lord Jesus, You found me and brought me to You. Use me to bring others to You. Show me the ways. Lead me in them, to Your praise and glory.       Amen.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Discipline

When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.                                 1 Cor. 11.32


God disciplines us to repentance. God’s discipline and judgment could well be harsh and severe, but this has not been my experience. For me, His judgment has come through gentle but clear Holy Spirit conviction. It is as if God has not needed to speak from a high and lofty judgement seat. Rather, I am moved by an inner awareness of my wrongdoing, as acute disappointment with my sin, and the strongest yearning to make things right with God, to be restored to sweet relationship with Him and to be able to continue and progress in my walk of faith. 

Perhaps this is God’s way to discipline me. The inner sense of remorse I feel at letting Him, and myself, down is sufficient to awaken me to confession and repentance. 

I do not want to be condemned with the world. Jesus Himself has said I do not belong to the world but He has chosen me out of the world (John 15.19). In my journey I do not want to be “so heavenly minded that I am no earthly good”. I want to be able to reach people, ordinary, suffering, life-living people, with the love of God and the message of Jesus.



Lord God,
I thank You for disciplining me. I am truly sorry for the ways I disappoint You, and disappoint myself also. I know You are gracious to forgive me, and I thank You and receive Your forgiveness. I repent before You. I pray for Your Holy Spirit power to break through my weakness and lead me forward in Your strength.
I want to be a real witness to Jesus. Help me, please. I feel so inadequate, and I am constantly reading of the power that is in You. Lord, touch me with that power. Use me to minister in it, to bring others to You. I love You and want to share that love. Help me do so, in Jesus’ name I ask.             Amen.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Whatever

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.         1 Cor. 10.31


Paul’s words are all-inclusive. Everything – whatever I do, I should do for the glory of God. In who I am and all that I do God’s glory is to be seen.

As I reflect on this, and realise those things that I do that are not honouring to God, it comes to me how far I still have to go. In certain things I am still a wretched sinner and this identifies me. I am a sinner. I am as much in need of God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness today as I ever was. I need these things of Him now, and I will always need them.

I thank God that it is by His grace that I have been saved (Eph. 2.7). By the grace of God I am what I am (1 Cor. 15.10). It is God’s will that I be sanctified (1 Thess. 4.3), He Himself will sanctify me through and through (1Thess.5.23).

My whole person – spirit, soul and body will be touched by Him and kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5.23).



Dear God, Loving Father,
I thank You for Your great faithfulness. I thank You that my sanctification is in You and not in my own hands.
I am a miserable sinner. I come to You in full confession of my sins. I repent and ask Your forgiveness. I also ask Your help in strengthening myself against future temptation. 
I yield myself to You for Your work of sanctification to progress in me. Have Your way in me. I truly want Your will and not mine to be done.
All I can do is offer myself to You. Please work in me so that all that I am and all that I do, whatever it may be, might be for the glory of God.
I earnestly ask this, in Jesus’ name.             Amen.

Monday, 22 April 2019

One

But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 
                           1 Cor.6.17
                                              

These words delight me. As I unite with the Lord I become one with Him in spirit. The reading suggests something that I can do. I take responsibility and action to unite myself with Him.

The Greek word for unite is kollao (Strong’s 2853). It’s basic meaning is to glue. It can be passive or reflexive i.e. ‘to be glued’ or ‘to glue oneself.’ Figuratively it is to stick, to cleave, to join oneself, to keep company.

I’m not so na├»ve as to think that I simply ‘join myself’ to God, and that’s it! But I do believe my declared act of willingness to be united with Him will be received by Him with delight and positive response.

Why do I desire to join myself with Him?
Because I love Him. I love Him and want to know Him. I want to grow like Him, and to be one with Him in spirit. I want to enjoy Him and see Him enjoy me.

Later in his letter Paul says:
         But the man who loves God is known by God. (8.3)
This gives me further encouragement. I believe God’s Word. I take these words literally at their face value.



Lord God, Wonderful Heavenly Father,
Your Word says that the man who loves You is known by You. I am a man and I love You. I declare again and afresh my love for You. You are wonderful, powerful, loving, merciful, gracious and caring. I love You for who You are. You know me, for Your Word says so. I rejoice in this. I thank You.
Your Word also says that he who unites himself with You is one with You in spirit. Hallelujah!
Lord God, I come to You to join with You. I seek to glue myself to You, that we may never be separated, that I might know You and grow like You, being one with You in spirit.
Your Word says these things. I believe Your Word, so let it be!
Hallelujah! Amen and Amen. 

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Acceptance

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.                    Rom. 15.7


As I read these words of Paul they remind me of Jesus’ words:
“A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  (John 13.34,35)

This is not a suggestion by Jesus. It is a command. Strong’s (1785) tells me this is an injunction:
         Entole – authoritative prescription.
In law, an injunction is a court order prohibiting something. It is as if Jesus is prohibiting us not to love one another. He might be saying: “I order you to love one another as I have loved you. You are prohibited from not doing this.”
These are strong words, and to be seriously heeded. 

Then I have to consider the love of Christ. Each time I think of this, the most exquisite sensation comes to me. I can think of nothing to compare with His love. It comforts me; it strengthens me; it purifies me; it delights me. It is like nothing else I have experienced. It overwhelms and overpowers me. How could I possibly emulate this and love others as He does? In myself I know I cannot, yet I know His Word that says, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” His Word also says: Ask and you will receive.



Lord God,
I thank You for Paul’s encouragement to accept others as Christ accepted me. This reminds me of the command that Jesus gave me to love others.
I know I do not have the personal ability to do this. But I believe in Your Word with all my heart and I ask, in accordance with Your Word, that You give me the strength to love each one of my fellows as Jesus loved me. Lord, let me know the compassion that He had. Let me embrace the broken, the lost, the healing and the whole, and love and accept them as Jesus did me. I ask this in His precious name.           Amen.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

For me

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.                                                  Rom. 5.8


This is where it starts. It’s really not about me. It is not of my doing. God is the prime mover. He is the one in charge. He gave Himself for me, dying for my sin so that I might be reconnected to Him. He did this for me and His sole motivation was the love He has for me.

         My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him. 
He alone is my rock and my salvation; 
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.              Psalm 62.1,2

I might say this is the rest of it. God restored me into relationship with Him in the first place and now, all that I need I will find in Him. He is my rest, He alone. Nowhere else will I find rest other that in Him. My salvation, my continuing journey of sanctification unto death and perfection comes from Him and, again, only from Him. He strengthens me. He leads, teaches and grows me.
He protects me. As I come to Him, fully, nothing will shake me.



Lord God,
I take hold of these words today because they are Your words. I choose to believe that I will find rest, outworking of my life’s journey and everything else I need, only in You. Your Word says so and I believe Your Word. Yes, Lord, I know this is true. I cannot deny it. I will not find what I’m looking for in the world. I certainly can’t provide it for myself. I have no problem in knowing that it’s only in You I will find my fulfilment.
Lord, I began and I will conclude with You. It’s all about You. I want my life to be a good and worthy witness to Jesus Christ. I desire to be a co-worker with God but based completely upon friendship with You. 
Please help me! I ask this of You in Jesus’ name.            Amen.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

With Christ

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we also live with him. 
                           Rom. 6.8


Christ died and was raised from the dead. His resurrected life differed from His former life. Through resurrection He was raised to live in glory, seated at the right hand of the Father and enjoying the full majesty, glory and power of the Godhead.

I allied myself with Christ when I received Him as Saviour and committed to Him as Lord. In my baptism I joined symbolically in His death and resurrection. My sin and my old way of living was buried with Him as I entered the water. As I rose out of the water I joined with Him in new life, in harmony with the Father and with all His glorious ways. I now live with Jesus. Sin is still a problem but I have an answer. As I press into Jesus, I know He is willing to forgive every confessed sin instantly. As I grow in Him, His influence upon me increases my desire to turn from sin. In this He is always there to help me.

To live with Jesus is a choice. It requires certain things of me yet these are not costly, for the blessings I receive far outweigh any input I offer.



Lord God,
I recall the process of salvation that I experienced. I recall also the sweetness of baptism. I have died with Jesus. Now I choose to live with Him. I look to the fullness of life as a child of God, as a co-heir with Christ.
I ask You to help me in dealing with sin in my life. Please caution me when sin threatens. Protect me. Challenge me to turn from sin and to embrace You fully.
I look to see my life grow in You. May I know and feel Your presence grow daily with me and in me. Lead me in Your ways. Show me clearly what You would have me do.
Let love grow and flourish between us as we co-habit – I in You and You in me.
I love You. Receive my love and prayers, in Jesus’ name.          Amen.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Faith and righteousness

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.                                                                            Rom. 3.22


The righteousness of God – in God, with God and from God is available to man.

The righteousness that is met in, and discovered through, the gospel is a righteousness that man can know and grow in. Paul states that it is available to all who believe, whether Jew or Greek or anyone else. The means of receiving this righteousness is freely available. It is simply through faith in Jesus Christ.

God’s righteousness is goodness and purity, honesty and uprightness. It is all that is commendable.

Earlier in the chapter Paul contrasts God’s righteousness with man’s unrighteousness. The human side is weak and sinful. This is a fact, but it can be overcome. Through faith in Jesus Christ God’s righteousness may be received, the present darkness dispersed, and human weakness turned into Godly strength.



Dear Lord,
I know that I believe in Jesus Christ and I thank You for the faith that I have. This faith will lead me into Your righteousness. In fact, it is already doing so.
I surrender my human weakness to You. I release any remaining darkness in my life before the purity of Your light.
I open myself further to the fruits of Your righteousness. I embrace truth, mercy, grace, honesty, love, understanding, patience and a stronger sense of caring for my fellow being and a desire to see each one come into fulfilment in you.
You are the answer and the way is Jesus. My prayer is that the way may be opened wide this year for all those I know to come into fulfilment with You. My prayer is that they will meet with You and grow in love and righteousness.
Receive my prayer. Answer it, I pray, in Jesus’ name.               Amen.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Rest in Him

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.             Matt. 11.28


In recent times I have been receiving a number of messages that are consistent in content. Without exception, they have been saying to me: Come to God; press in to Him; be still; wait upon Him for refreshing, recharging, replenishing and strengthening. I am aware of the words: Spending time with the Lord is not an option – it is the answer!

I agree, and I come to a place of rest in Him. I am completely relaxed – perhaps too much so, if this is possible! I am still. The worship music I have playing at this moment is just right. As I sink into my comfortable chair, I feel as if I am sinking into the arms of my heavenly Father. I feel safe and safeguarded. This is where I belong. This is how I am to travel my particular journey through this life. As I rest in Him, He will strengthen me. He will love me and bring me into the fullness of provision in Him. I am to do only what He wills for me to do, and He will show me clearly all that this entails.

I feel assured. The Lord urges me to abide in Him. As I do this, the assurance will continue I cannot falter if I continue the practice of resting in Him. He will lead me and guide, and the most wonderful relationship will consolidate between us.



Lord God,
Right now I feel so relaxed, almost tired and sleepy. Yet the sense of peace and security that I feel transcends fatigue.
I am at peace. I am still. I sit at Your feet. I pay deep homage to Your most holy Majesty. And I rest completely in You.
I pray that I might receive rest, refreshing, renewing and strengthening from You and in You. I trust You for this. You are my source, my King, my Saviour, my Lord, my Judge, my Friend, my Lover, my Everything. I receive You, in love.               Amen.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Mysteries

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”                                                         John 19.11


Jesus speaks these words to Pilate. He speaks them with confidence for He knows that the Father in heaven controls all things and is the sole dispenser of power. If any power is wielded on earth it is because it is allowed by the heavenly authority. 

As I ponder this, I puzzle at some of the horrendous happenings that have been “allowed” throughout world history – the sort of things I might refer to as “man’s inhumanity to man”. (crusades, inquisition, the Nazi scourge, present day genocide masquerading as “ethnic cleansing”).

I find it impossible to understand why these things have been allowed to happen. I can only see possible reasons in the area of mysteries of God, mysteries which, one day, may be revealed.

Jesus was sure that Pilate’s power came from above. I am of a similar belief. There is much that happens in the world, and even certain things in my life, that I can’t explain. I choose to believe that God allows these things for reasons beyond my understanding and, possibly, to achieve certain divine purposes.



Lord God,
It does puzzle me how certain events have been allowed throughout the history of the world, but I release these events to You, believing that nothing happens without Your knowledge and agreement.
So, likewise with the things in my life. Certain things have occurred that I would have preferred not to have experienced yet, as I look back, I see how You have worked for the good in all things. I thank You for Your covering over me. I seek the shelter of You wings and the covering of Your feathers. I place myself fully under Your charge and look to the unfolding of the rest of my life in Your ways and will. I thank You, in Jesus’ name.          Amen.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Flesh and Spirit

Again Peter denied it; and at that moment a rooster began to crow. 
 John 18.27


Three times Peter denied his connection with Jesus. Jesus had prophesied this, even in the face of Peter’s declaration that he would die for Jesus.

Peter was acting in his flesh, and the flesh is weak. This scene is in marked contrast to the events recorded by Luke in the Book of Acts where Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, displays boldness and courage, and a zeal for the Gospel and the Kingdom of God that no man can quench. This is Peter moving in the Spirit.

The difference between life in the flesh and life in the Spirit is so great. Peter was not alone in experiencing a dramatic change in his person. The New Testament abounds with stories of transformation. This is also seen throughout the annals of church history and down into the present time.

The Spirit transforms. The Spirit gives new life. The Spirit brings enabling, strength and boldness to be powerful witnesses for Jesus Christ.



Lord God,
I see so clearly the difference in witness that Peter gave in the Spirit against the poor witness he gave in the flesh.
I thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, a gift I embrace into the whole of my being.
I look to be a powerful witness for Jesus as I am filled with His Spirit. I offer my flesh to You. I ask You to fill me to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit. Let me exercise the gifts of the Spirit in full measure. May I demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in all of my living.
I live for You, Lord. I seek no other way. Show me Your way in everything that I do, and lead me in that way.
I declare Jesus to be my Saviour and Lord. I appreciate Him as my truest friend. 
Receive my thanks and love, in Jesus’ name.          Amen.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Protected and sanctified

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
…Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”      John 17.15,17


Jesus has prayed for me. This is powerful and most meaningful. Jesus has prayed God’s protection upon me. He acknowledges that I am in the world and will not be taken out of the world, but God will protect me – from the evil one and from all that is evil.

Jesus has asked God to sanctify me by the truth. I believe God is answering this prayer. I know He desires a purer me, a more holy person, a truer witness to Jesus. 

I am still greatly impacted each time I read of Jesus saying, “I tell you the truth.” I delight at such honesty and complete lack of deceit. This is the most excellent example that I want to follow. Yes, let me be sanctified – to the utmost degree that pleases God. Let me know the truth. God’s word is truth, and in it I will find truth. Let me know God’s truth through His word – both that which is recorded in Holy Scriptures and that which He speaks as a personal rhema to me.



Lord God,
I delight in being in relationship with You. I thank You that Jesus has prayed for protection for me while I am in this world. I receive Your protection and ask that I might always live and minister within it.
I delight greatly in the truth. I find the truth in You, in Jesus and Your Word, and especially under the guidance of Your Holy Spirit.
I thank You for Your Holy Spirit. I humbly ask that You lead me by Your Spirit into all truth. I seek more, more of You, more of Your Word, more relationship, and more ministry. Guide me in all of this through Your powerful and perfect truth.
In Jesus’ name I ask.               Amen.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Light

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”                                       John 12.46


Jesus is both the light of the world and the light in the world.

As the light of the world He is the answer, the only answer. The world has somehow lost its way. There is much darkness in today’s global scene. Yet, there is hope. Jesus is available to all who will receive Him. Jesus lights the way to the Father, to peace and love, and to eternal life in the richest mode possible.

Jesus is also the light in the world. He lives in all those who give themselves to Him. And there are many. The light of Jesus shines in and through each and every true Christian. Even in the darkest places, the Christian is able to shine the light of Christ, and show the way to the Father. May the light increase.



Lord God,
Again I thank You for Jesus. I thank You for the presence of Jesus in my life and for the love and grace that I experience, for the healing and wholeness I enjoy and for the peace and joy that You allow me to share freely and abundantly.
I pray for those in the world who walk and live in darkness. I pray that they might see the light. Lord Jesus, let Your light shine brightly in the darkness. Touch the hearts of the lost to be open to hear Your message of love. Move in them to receive the wonderful gift of eternal life that You offer. Bring them into relationship with the heavenly Father. Restore and renew. Heal and make whole. Fill with life and with light.
I pray also for those who carry the light of Christ, both present and future. Let Your light shine securely through these vessels. Give many opportunities to shine, and let the light always penetrate the darkness.
Lord God, You are sovereign and supreme. Let Your light shine, and overcome the darkness, in Jesus’ name I pray.                 Amen.

Monday, 1 April 2019

The Shepherd

“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”                                John 10. 7-9, (see also John 10.1-21)


Jesus is the good shepherd. In New Testament times the role of the shepherd was perhaps more fully understood than it is today. The shepherd was totally connected to his sheep. Each shepherd identified with his own flock. He named each one of his sheep. He called them by their names, and they responded. The sheep knew the voice of their shepherd. They would not respond to a stranger. The sheep would follow their shepherd and he would look after them to the death. Indeed, he would die for them if necessary.

Jesus said:
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…”(v14)

He is talking here of a deep mutual knowledge. He compares His relationship with His sheep to the relationship He has with His Father.
“… just as the Father knows me and I know the Father…” (15a)

This is truly special. It is so special that He is prepared to die for His sheep.
“…and I lay down my life for the sheep.”(v15b)

This He did, giving Himself for His sheep, for as many as will receive Him.

I love Jesus. I am grateful for the sacrifice He made that restored me to the Father. I thank Him for, and seek to deepen, my relationship with Him. I want to get closer to this precious shepherd. I want to experience a connection with Him such as He has with the Father. God’s Word tells me this is possible.


Lord Jesus,
Your own words tell me that I can know You and You know me in the manner that You and the Father know each other. I seek this, Lord. Daily I look for a closer communion with You. You are my Saviour and Lord. You are my shepherd, my dearly loved keeper. You are my Brother, Friend and Lover. What an amazing relationship we share.
I come to You to share this day with You. Draw me to You. Come with me through the day, in Your precious name I ask.         Amen.